And the winner of Top Chef is… Jeremy Ford!
Ford and runner-up Amar Santana worked with their respective mentors for the last challenge. Although Ford served undercooked duck, he still beat out Santana, whose dishes weren’t as well-executed.
Ford opens up about what he’s learned from each of the top five contestants, his biggest competition on the show and so much more.
SheKnows: Who is your favorite Top Chef contestant of all time and why?
Jeremy Ford: Kwame is my favorite contestant of all time because we spent so much time together, and I got to know him not only as a chef but as an amazing person as well.
SK: Were you surprised by your win? Why or why not?
JF: Absolutely, I was surprised by my win because at any and all times, you are going against the best of the best, and it’s always anyone’s game to win.
SK: What’s Amar’s biggest strength?
JF: Amar’s biggest strength is his calm, collected demeanor while cooking. He is never in a frantic mode.
SK: What was it like working with all of the judges on the show?
JF: I think one of the best things about being on Top Chef is receiving the criticism from such amazing palates. As you go through the competition, there are so many different levels of things that they can pick apart about your cooking, and it’s humbling.
SK: Who is your favorite of the judges and why?
JF: Gail Simmons because not only does she give you criticism, but she gives it to you in a way that allows you to apply her criticism, in order to make your next dish better.
SK: What’s one thing about being a part of and filming Top Chef that people may not know?
JF: There’s a lot of down time where the contestants come up with crazy games to pass the time!
SK: Who did you consider your biggest competition?
JF: I was actually very threatened by Carl, especially towards the end of the competition.
SK: Was there anyone on the show you really clashed with? Who was it and why?
JF: Honestly, there was no one that I clashed with.
SK: What’s one thing you learned from each of the top five contestants on the show?
JF: I learned from Isaac that simplicity can take you a long way. I learned from Marjorie that baking can be a major part in winning the challenges. I learned from Amar that utilizing classic French techniques is definitely respected by the judges, especially Tom. I learned from Kwame that using bold Asian flavors really makes your dish stand out because of that pop of flavor.
SK: Do you believe any of the women on the show left too early? If so, who?
JF: I feel that your destiny on Top Chef is determined by what you cook each week, male or female.
SK: What was the best experience you had on the show?
JF: Eating Hubert Keller’s pig-foot stew was the best experience on the show.
SK: What was the biggest challenge for you on the show?
JF: The biggest challenge for me was completing a composed dish with such short time restraints.
SK: What will you do now that you’ve won Top Chef?
JF: Continue to work hard and grow my culinary knowledge under the mentorship of Jean-Georges [Vongerichten].
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.